The Transylvania Times -

Orth First Of Four Conductors: Brevard Philharmonic Kicks Off Season Oct. 15 - Brevard, NC


September 28, 2017

Courtesy Photo

Cornelia Laemmli Orth

The search for the new artistic director/conductor of the Brevard Philharmonic begins with the opening concert on Sunday, Oct. 15, at 3 p.m. in the Porter Center at Brevard College. The first conductor in the spotlight is Swiss born Cornelia Laemmli Orth. Orth will direct the Philharmonic and its celebrated guest violin soloist, Aleksey Semenenko, who will play Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35.

Orth and the orchestra will open the concert, titled "A Twist of Faith," with selections of her own choosing; Beethoven's "Leonore Overture no. 3" and Mendelssohn's Symphony no. 5, "Reformation," a particularly appropriate piece for an October afternoon that falls almost exactly 500 years after the day Martin Luther nailed his demands on the door of the church in Wittenberg, Germany.

Mendelssohn composed the "Reformation" Symphony in 1830 in honor of the 300th anniversary of that event. To honor Luther, Mendelssohn included in his finale the beloved hymn "Ein' feste Burg is unser Gott" ("A Mighty Fortress is our God") that Luther had written while the Augsburg Confession was in session.

For the first movement, Mendelssohn borrowed the familiar "Dresden Amen," a serene sequence of rising chords familiar to churchgoers then and now.

Of the four overtures Beethoven wrote for his opera "Leonore" - later renamed "Fidelio" - only the one called "Leonore no. 3" has gained favor both in the concert hall, where it is much loved, and in the opera house. "Leonore no 3" is as theatrical a piece as Beethoven ever wrote.

Program notes for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's performance of the piece call it, ... "a miracle of dramatic music, as compelling as any symphonic poem in the literature."

Orth brings charm and vitality to every performance. Her career has taken her from La Scala in Milan to the Zurich Opera house to her current position as music director/conductor of the Symphony of the Mountains, Kingsport, Tenn. Her gifts will be on full display as she conducts the Philharmonic and Semenenko, in Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35, one of the composer's most beloved works.

The piece was composed at a Swiss resort where Tchaikovsky went to recover from depression brought on by a disastrous marriage. Inspiration struck, and the piece was finished in less than two weeks. The lovely slow movement leads up to the brilliant finale, with its driving, folk like melodies and very "Russian" second theme.

Semenenko brings his own star power to the afternoon. The Washington Post hailed his debut there as "triumphant." The New York Times praises his "...romantic intensity...his powerful technique and rich tone. There (is) a fluidity and warmth to his playing."

The concert is sponsored by Renee Bresler and Wayne Steifle.

After each performance this season there will be a ticketed, post concert gala reception. This occasion is designed as an opportunity for concertgoers to meet the conductor candidates in an up close and personal setting in the Porter Center's Scott Commons. Entrance to these receptions requires a $20 donation, limited to 100 music lovers

Another bonus this season is the opportunity to buy a raffle ticket for an oil painting by Brevard artist Barbara Hawk. Raffle tickets are $30 each to benefit the Philharmonic's Music in the Schools Program and its other outreach work. The painting will be on display at every concert and at the Philharmonic's new office. The winner will be announced at intermission at the last concert, April 8, 2018. You need not be present to win.

The Brevard Philhar-monic is a nonprofit organization comprised of local and regional musicians, presenting five concerts annually at Brevard College's Porter Center for the Performing Arts. Its mission is to foster in the community and in our schools an appreciation for classical music and the performing arts.

Tickets are on sale now and will be available at $35 per concert. Season ticket packages are on sale now for three, four and all five concerts. Call (828) 884-4221 for details, stop in at our brand new office across from Brevard College at 521 North Broad Street, or use our Pick Your Seat option at


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